BYOD managers: Don't overlook the most important benefit of the program

BYOD managers: Don't overlook the most important benefit of the program

Summary: BYOD is here to stay, as mobile devices have become both more productive and more personal. The key to making BYOD work is to build the program to serve both sides of the employees' needs without compromise.

iPad with keyboard folio

Those in charge of implementing corporate programs that allow workers to bring their own smartphones, tablets, and laptops to work (BYOD) are scrambling to figure out how to do that properly. It's not a matter of simply allowing personal devices into the workplace, it's a complicated process to design a program that meets the objectives of the company.

While important to protect the company's information, security, and access, it is equally important to meet the needs of the workers. Employees must have a reason to buy into such programs, as they are spending their own money for the gear.

Building a BYOD program that protects the company at the expense of allowing the worker to get the job done is doomed to failure. The selling point for employees to bring their own personal gear to work is two-fold: it's  familiar to the worker and it makes their job easier.

Designing a BYOD program that prevents the device owner from doing what they want with their phone or other gadget defeats the purpose of the process. It doesn't benefit either the company or the worker if the gadget can't be used normally. The ability to use the gear as desired for both personal and business functions is critical to get workers to enthusiastically buy into the program.

BYOD managers are going crazy determining the proper way to protect corporate network and information while keeping such information segregated from personal information on the devices. Different methods are being experimented with (including virtualization) to come up with the perfect way to keep worker's stuff separate from company stuff. Doing this is crucial to get BYOD programs successfully off the ground.

It is vital that this be done without restricting what employees can do on the personal side of the equation. The whole point of BYOD from the worker's perspective is to be able to use his/her device as desired for personal things. Locking this down will guarantee a knee-jerk resistance to the program. It is their investment after all.

There's not an easy answer to straddling the corporate/personal fence with BYOD programs. That's what is driving managers crazy trying to figure it out. It is important to recognize that personal use of such devices cannot be restricted in any way for BYOD to succeed in the long term.

Topics: Mobility, Laptops, Smartphones, Tablets, Virtualization

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  • BYOD is really two separate phenomenon

    BYOD is one term that's being used to describe two fairly different phenomenon.

    On the one hand it describes companies that are scrambling to respond to employee demands that they be allowed to bring and use their personal iPad/Smartphone/laptop at work.

    On the other hand, it describes companies that see a financial benefit to having their employees pay for and use their own equipment, instead of issuing company phones and laptop.

    There are conflicting motivations at play here. In one case you're trying to create a pleasant and welcoming work environment for your employees. On the other you are probably breeding ill will among employees who are at the same time, seeing themsleves bled in other ways (increasing co-pays for medical insurance, skimpier benefits, smaller bonuses, fewer promitions etc.) The way that BYOD is implemented and received, and probably its success, will largely depend on what the motivation is behind BYOD at your workplace.
    • Also, BYOD should be optional....

      Companies that may require users to bring their own devices to work, particularly a laptop, would definitely be a bad policy. I may want to bring my laptop to work, but I wouldn't want to be forced to. I still want a dedicated, company provided workstation when I go to the office every day. Phones are a different story, but if a company wants/needs an employee to have access to e-mail on their phone, the company should be prepared to provide that device. However, most people do have a smartphone these days, so I do not why you would want to carry around 2 phones if you can get your work e-mail on your personal phone.
      • why?

        "However, most people do have a smartphone these days, so I do not why you would want to carry around 2 phones if you can get your work e-mail on your personal phone."

        legal separation, in case of any type of investigation or outage. Some company policies will also completely delete any data on a phone if you leave the company. All those photos of your kids are now gone if you havent saved them. Maybe you dont want the company having access and a copy of every email, message, call you made off of your own device, on the weekend, on your own time.
  • BYOD Cost the employeer on the rear end (I meant back end)

    The cost of standing up mobile device management (MDM) in addition to current management tools for the existing infrastructure and the maintenance of the MDM patches, upgrades, monitoring, hardware, etc. Just moved the cost from the desktop to the data center. Oh yes, don't forget the cost of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure as well to allow non Windows devices get back to all your corporate data, and applications. Make no mistake there are a lot of applications that do not run on mobile OS platforms and have no equivalent app. Even if they did have an app, you have to factor in migration and making sure all employees are running a supported version of the app replacement for the desktop capability.

    There is an answer that provides the best and I mean the best of both worlds, corporate desktop and touch first experience across a variety of devices and not force companies to stand up new infrastructure to manage these devices, write new apps or be forced to provide VDI. In short there is a better answer to what we are seeing in the market to date.
    • u got it

      That's the market for VDI implementation. It doesn't matter what devices u use as long u can access corporate desktop. However the cost of implementing VDI can be quite high. Thankfully there are some software such ThinServer XP which is low cost and easy to deploy
      • what is the difference between

        VDI and VPN?
        • what is stored on your device

          VDI will give you a virtual desk, but nothing is stored on your device. VPN connects your device to the company network and everything is stored on your device.
  • it really helps companies more than employees

    It helps companies more, allowing them to spend less on equipping their employees. Next, employers will require you to bring your own laptop, as that is your "tool" and as such, you will be required to furnish it yourself.

    What some people forget, if there is ever any type of investigated incident, they could lose their own equipment and devices for the length of the investigation, possibly losing any data, pictures, etc they have on those devices.

    And support costs for multiple platforms, companies seem to forget that.
  • BYOD = no MS Windows

    and this is very scary to a bunch of dinosaurs used to make a living fixing Windows.

    for years people endured MS Windows at work, and now, exposed to Apple world class OS they want to bring it to work, that's the BYOD real story.
    • then they realize

      half the business software they need to use, doesnt work on Apple OS. I'm not an Apple or MS hater, my job requires me to be platform agnostic, but Apple OS isnt any better than MS when you take the full picture of usage, software availability, cost, etc. Maybe they dont want to pay 4x the cost of a desktop X each employee, to use Apple.
  • There are no advantages to BYOD.

    "Employees must have a reason to buy into such programs, as they are spending their own money for the gear."

    Hence why it's not really here to stay. It's a phase. There are no advantages to BYOD. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

    Employees don't want it, IT doesn't want it, management doesn't want it, who really wants it?

    BYOD: A methodology only bloggers can love.

    "it's familiar to the worker and it makes their job easier."

    A device used for any length of time is familiar to the user. Home or work phone, doesn't really matter. And all phones are easy to use. If a user's own device is easier for the job, all that really means is your business likely invested in the wrong phone.
  • re-reading the article again....

    I must have missed the "most important benefit of the program". What exactly was it?
  • BYOD is a huge mistake

    Why any company would want to let employees use there own devices and phone number is beyond me. Your employee is then interacting with your clients and with their own number. Has company data on their own hardware. The potential for fraud, missus, theft .. its way too high for the average smb. Yes emplyees are the most important part of any good company, yes you want to trust them and feel you have the best ones out there... but if you are two cheap to provide them with a secure phone, cell package, and laptop to do their job.... chances are your too cheap to spend the money to make sure all of their byod devices are secure. ... and how long are you gonna keep an emplyee that has to pay for all of that stuff themselves.

    And wake up . BYOD is only a benefit to carriers not to business. They can put individuals on the hook for all the associated costs of having cell plans and charge them at rates they couldn't get away with on a well negotiated corporate plan.
  • BYOD will inevitably affect how a user uses their device

    James Kendrick misses a great point when he says "Employees must have a reason to buy into such programs, as they are spending their own money for the gear". Employees are not going out to spend money on the gear because there is a BYOD program in their work place. The BYOD is in place because the employee already has the gear. BYOD is being driven by the employees' need (or want) to use their up to date and in most cases very fancy devices. In most organizations this trend started in the boardroom where VPs started showing up with their iPad and Samsung Galaxy tablets.

    Having followed and participated in many discussions about this topic I can without a doubt conclude that there is no way it is going to be a win-win situation. As early as 2010 IBM adopted the BYOD and according to the numbers released at that time about 80,000 employees were reaching the internal network through personal devices. IBM quickly banned the use of Dropbox on (yes you guessed it) personal devices that are connecting to the internal network. The reasons for that are obvious. In an article in the Information Week by Serdar Yegulalp in May this year, IBM has since turned off Siri, Dropbox and a lot of other things on personal devices. IBM has since realized that BYOD requires a policy that has as much control on the personal device as on the corporate device.

    The bottom line is that employees' devices on the corporate network will need to be controlled. It is a tradeoff. If you want to use your own devices, yes we will allow it but here are the conditions.